I got these from an other bullitin board. http://www.webfoodpros.com/discus/
"As far as I know, the phrase 86'ed refers to the dimensions of a grave; that is, 8' by 6'. This seems a logical explanation when you think of it in terms of it "being dead" or sort of putting it to rest. Make sense?"
I always heard that it was a number of a popular dish at a hotel restaurant I think the Waldorf-Astoria. On the menu it was #86 and they kept running out of it. Supposedly the term caught on.
in school we learned that it came from the restaurant delmonico's. Item number 86 ran out all opf the time. I believe the item was their delmonico steak.
I heard it came from Escoffier, himself. He referred to his recipes by number and one day they ran out of (which was a totally forbidden thing) Recipe "86". Since running out of things was unheard of and the person in charge of this particular item probably soon lost his job and his head.....the running out of an item earned the name "86". But that's just what I heard.
It is my understanding that it was borrowed from the policy of "86ing" someone when that person has had too much to drink. He/she is no longer being served. 86 refers to article 86 of the New York State Liquor laws that define when someone should not, legally, be served in places that sell alcoholic beverages. I could be wrong, but, I don't think I am.
Take your pick